Application of the Premack Principle of reinforcement to the quality performance of service employees

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dianne H.B. Welsh, Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: This study applied Premack's (1959, 1965) model of reinforcement to improving quality performance of service employees. Premack stated that for any pair of activities, the more probable or valued one will reinforce the less probable or less valued one. Quality performance was operationally defined and measured in the study by an observational instrument developed from a large-scale employee survey. Employees of a fast food restaurant chain in a medium-sized, midwest metropolitan area identified the most important quality performance dimensions for each workstation in the restaurant, and observers were trained to record those categories of performance with 90 percent interrater reliability. Performance of eight randomly selected employees at one of the restaurant locations was directly observed during a 7-week period. Five of the employees experienced an intervention derived from the Premack reinforcement model; if the quality of their performance exceeded baseline at a targeted workstation, they earned access to work time on their favorite station. A multiple baseline design across the five individuals was employed to assess the impact of this intervention; three employees who did not experience the intervention served as a control for maturation. The results provide beginning support for the use of reinforcement procedures derived from Premack's model in improving quality performance of service employees.

Additional Information

Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 13(1), 9-32
Language: English
Date: 1992
Premack principle of reinforcement, quality performance, service employees

Email this document to